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Diversity Honors at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Unveils Honorees

Groundbreaking and internationally acclaimed recording icon Belinda Carlisle will be among the recipients.

Diversity Honors, a widely acclaimed celebration organized to support the Harvey Milk Foundation and The Pride Center at Equality Park, aims to recognize individuals making a significant impact by living authentically and promoting inclusiveness. The event at 7 p.m. on March 9 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood will honor music pioneer, multiple Grammy Award-winner, and LGBTQ+ activist Belinda Carlisle (pictured) and singer/songwriter Spencer Battiest with Harvey Milk Medals. Entrepreneur Mark Hunter Seymour will receive The Pride Center at Equality Park Alan Schubert Award, while Tatiana Williams and the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida will be presented with Diversity Honors awards.

The event is a collaborative effort to keep South Florida on the international stage of LGBT+ rights and activism in honor of Harvey Milk. Harvey Milk was one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S. He was assassinated shortly after winning a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors but has since become an icon and beacon of light for the global LGBTQ+ community. This year marks the 46th anniversary of Harvey Milk’s historic election.

“Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood is honored to present, produce, and celebrate Diversity Honors, which has become an iconic event,” says Susan Renneisen, vice president of community affairs and special events for the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. “We strongly align ourselves with the mission that this event stands for, which is tolerance, acceptance, and leadership for change to ensure equality, inclusiveness, and a higher quality of life for LGBT+ communities across the globe.”

Only some artists can stand the test of time in the ever-changing landscape of shifting musical trends. Belinda Carlisle, however, is one of those rare talents who has remained relevant for nearly four decades in the industry. With her unique blend of bold vocals, emotively charged melodies, and picturesque lyrics, the gifted and glamorous singer-songwriter has indelibly touched the hearts of pop fans worldwide. Throughout her career, Carlisle has always had a large LGBTQ fan base. She has advocated for marriage equality and filmed public service announcements for it. She has been involved in LGBTQ awareness campaigns alongside her openly gay son, James, a human rights activist.

Spencer Battiest, a Native American musician from the Seminole/Choctaw tribe, has made a name for himself in the entertainment industry as a singer-songwriter, producer, and actor. His musical journey began with the traditional hymns of his youth but soon evolved to incorporate contemporary pop/rock, rhythm, and blues sounds. In 2013, he made history by becoming the first American Indian artist to sign with Hard Rock Records. His debut EP, Stupid in Love, was released two years later. Battiest’s heritage from the Hollywood Seminole Indian Reservation continues to influence his music significantly.

For over 41 years, Mark Hunter Seymour has been an entrepreneur and nightclub owner. His journey began in 1982 with his first club, Hunters Chicago, in Elk Grove, IL. Following years of success in the suburbs of Chicago, he decided to expand his business with a second location in Palm Springs, California in 1998 and a third location in Wilton Manors in 2013 after selling Hunters Elk Grove. Both the Palm Springs and Wilton Manors locations remain dedicated to serving the LGBTQ+ community. In Palm Springs, Seymour has been actively involved with various community non-profit organizations, including The Desert Aids Project, The Aids Assistance Project, Orphan Pet Oasis, The LGBT Community Center of the Desert, and The Les Dames Du Soleil.

Tatiana Williams, a native of South Florida, is the co-founder and executive director of Transinclusive Group (TIG), Broward County’s first African American trans-led organization. TIG was established in 2017 with a mission to advocate for the protection and defense of equality for transgender and LGBTQ+ individuals in South Florida. Williams has been advocating for the LGBTQ+ community for over 20 years. He has developed positive relationships with community leaders and elected officials who work towards promoting legislation supporting transgender individuals. She has played a crucial role in passing legislation that positively impacts LGBTQ+ people in Florida. Williams is a renowned national speaker, author, and advisor. She has collaborated with artists such as Da Baby and Lil Nas X to support LGBTQ+ outreach, advocacy and education.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida (GMCSF) was established in 2010 and is known for bringing live music to the region through grand-scale concerts in prestigious venues, far-reaching community engagements, and meaningful volunteer initiatives. The chorus has a diverse, intergenerational, and multicultural membership and aims to inspire change by opening minds and hearts through song. With more than 180 talented singers, GMCSF proudly stands as the largest gay men’s chorus in the southeastern United States and ranks among the top ten LGBTQ+ choruses in the country. Artistic Director Gabe Salazar leads the chorus, captivating over 25,000 individuals each year with their performances and solidifying their position as a vital cultural asset within the LGBTQ+ landscape in the heart of South Florida.

“The Pride Center at Equality Park is honoring its mission by celebrating those who are advancing equality and inclusiveness,” says Robert Boo, president and CEO of The Pride Center at Equality Park. “Diversity Honors has become a treasured tradition that is impactful, inspirational and memorable. There is a greater need for the LGBTQ community to have a voice and this year’s distinguished honorees make it more possible to be seen and heard.”

Tickets are $250 per person for the cocktail chic event, including a welcome cocktail reception, open bar, seated awards dinner in the Grand Ballroom, and a Stoli After Party at The Guitar Hotel with poolside live entertainment by international singer/songwriter Debby Holiday. To reserve tickets, please visit DiversityHonors.org.

Photo Credit: Bill Photography

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.